The article linked below was recently posted on arXiv.
Since 2013, the usage of preprints as a means of sharing research in biology has rapidly grown, in particular via the preprint server bioRxiv. Recent studies have found that journal articles that were previously posted to bioRxiv received a higher number of citations or mentions/shares on other online platforms compared to articles in the same journals that were not posted. However, the exact causal mechanism for this effect has not been established, and may in part be related to authors’ biases in the selection of articles that are chosen to be posted as preprints. We aimed to investigate this mechanism by conducting a mixed-methods survey of 1,444 authors of bioRxiv preprints, to investigate the reasons that they post or do not post certain articles as preprints, and to make comparisons between articles they choose to post and not post as preprints. We find that authors are most strongly motivated to post preprints to increase awareness of their work and increase the speed of its dissemination; conversely, the strongest reasons for not posting preprints centre around a lack of awareness of preprints and reluctance to publicly post work that has not undergone a peer review process. We additionally find weak evidence that authors preferentially select their highest quality, most novel or most significant research to post as preprints, however, authors retain an expectation that articles they post as preprints will receive more citations or be shared more widely online than articles not posted.
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